Today sees public and private sector invested in technology descend into the coastal city of Mombasa for the third installation of the Connected Kenya Summit, with the theme – the county citizen served. There has been a build up to this since the inception of the summit, and while output may not have been well articulated or shared with various publics, I feel that it is growing in both seriousness and relevance.
What I hope to see this year however is more solid output informed by panels and presentations from previous summits. In the past, we have celebrated future thinking and debated what could be. The time is now ripe to move from concept to implementation and further on to sustainability. I have some baseline expectations from the summit.
Education and leverage
There will be heavy representation of counties by various governors and their deputies. As the first occupants of the new offices, their reasons for attendance should be simple and two fold; to listen to the possibilities and explore relationships that will deliver value to the citizen, probably under public private partnerships.
A number of global players in the technology world have set camp in Kenya, with the growing trend globally being a fork into the services business, of which governments form a juicy revenue base. While not against them setting up shop (MNC’s do deliver), we should get a more solid understanding that will later be guided by legislation as to how knowledge and skills transfer can happen to ensure net growth in value from a revenue and I.P. perspective with native companies – otherwise it will not be too long before we start worrying about the repatriation of revenue and tax losses, from entities that while domiciled in Kenya are big brother shells.
A brutally honest analysis of past government initiatives and organs should be done with the aim of identifying and discarding those elements that don’t work or present a bottleneck. Numerous initiatives to bring services closer to the citizen have happened in the past, but a lack of follow up and communication with both internal and external publics sees them fall out of sight and out of mind, where they would possible morph into some white elephant or get committed to the dead pool.
Starting with “Innovating for the Citizen” in 2011, to “Knowledge and Beyond” in 2012, it is now time for the citizen centric services to fully and truly take flight. It has been my opinion that some of the concepts shared before, were ahead of their time with the key ingredients of critical mass and goodwill, sorely lacking within government.
Now, opportunity should meet preparedness here, and the outcome should only be one.